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Frederick Law Olmsted

Frederick Law OlmstedIf you know someone who might be a budding landscape architect, be sure you introduce them to "the" landscape architect of America: Frederick Olmsted. He is also known as the "Father of Landscaping".

Frederick Olmsted was born in Connecticut. With a limited education he went to attend Yale. Easily done in those days.

Although he studied science and engineering, after graduating became a journalist.

His landscaping influence came from a trip to China, returning and starting and experimental farm on Staten Island.  He was friends with Andrew J. Downing. Continued travels to England influenced him with the newly completed Birkenhead City Park in Liverpool 

He was commissioned by the New York Times to write what eventually became a two volume work on plantation life in the American South.

He and a friend won the contract to design Central Park in New York City. At that time it was nothing more than wilderness.

It was not until after the Civil War, in 1865, that the park was completed.  He then set up his private firm of landscape architecture.

His vision of saving the natural environment in urban parks came to pass in the future gardens of Brooklyn's Prospect Park, the Boston Park system, Chicago's South Park and Montreal's Mount Royal Park. Most importantly he did the U.S. Capital grounds in Washington, DC.

If you would like to read more about Frederick Olmsted, Witold Rybczynski has written a book entitled "A Clearing in the Distance".  Here we learn how several careers along the path of work has led Olmsted to be the ultimate landscape designer of all time. He is remembered for designing wonderful open parks.